The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sabotage fears stalk CPM

Calcutta, June 9: The CPM brass have had to issue a whip to ensure that party leaders fight the elections to Bidhannagar municipality united.

Sensing that displeasure among some leaders over the selection of candidates for the June 19 elections might upset the party's prospects, CPM state secretary Anil Biswas issued the whip yesterday asking them to work together to ensure victory.

'You may have reservations about some of our candidates contesting the elections. But you have to remember that it is the state leadership that has cleared the selection. You are free to air your grievances regarding the selection of candidates to the leadership after the elections. But the party will not entertain any sort of grievances on your part (now) and all of you have to work in a united manner to ensure the victory of all our candidates,' Biswas told a gathering of party workers in Salt Lake last evening.

The CPM had a one-seat edge over the Trinamul Congress in the 2000 elections. In the 23-member municipality, it bagged 12 seats while Trinamul got 11. In 1995, the CPM had won 13 seats and Trinamul 10.

Insiders said the party was not ruling out the possibility of 'sabotage' by a section of its leaders on election day.

It had a similar experience in the not-so-distant past. A section of the party had allegedly worked against its Dum Dum nominees Nirmal Chatterjee and Anil Bhattacharjee in the 1998 and 1999 Lok Sabha polls. Tapan Sikdar of the BJP had trounced the CPM on both occasions.

The state CPM leadership, which had conducted a probe to identify the factors responsible for the defeats, did not rule out 'sabotage' by a section of party leaders.

The CPM wrested Dum Dum from the BJP when Amitava Nandi won last year.

The leadership had to work hard to wipe out the differences among some important party functionaries in the district to ensure victory for Nandi.

This time, it has reasons to be apprehensive about a 'possible sabotage' by disgruntled party workers.

The failure of the party's Dum Dum zonal committee to prepare a list of candidates on the basis of consensus has worried the state leaders. The two local committees at Bidhannagar, under the Dum Dum zonal committee, had differed over the selection. As the local leaders failed to finalise the list, senior leaders had to intervene and it was finalised following a series of parleys at Jyoti Basu's Salt Lake residence.

Though the CPM released the list of its candidates for the Calcutta Municipal Corporation more than a month ago and projected Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya as its candidate for mayor, it has not yet projected anyone as the next chairman of Bidhannagar municipality because of sharp differences in its own ranks. The party released its manifesto for Bidhannagar only yesterday, though the one for Calcutta was released much earlier.

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